Child Support- Who really pays?

Under NY Law, both parents are ultimately responsible for child support until the child reaches their 21st birthday unless the child is emancipated or dies. Emancipation is a complete severance of the parental relationship that occurs when the child voluntarily withdraws from the parental control of the guardian. Emancipation occurs when the child marries, joins the military, or attains independence from employment.

NY has adopted a uniform child support award system which is not based on need but rather a fixed percentage of both the parents incomes as per the most recent tax return.

The child support formula is applied to the parents combined income up to the first $154,000 (154K), and then prorated between the spouses in the same proportion as each parents income is to the combined parental incomes.

In addition, the formula is based on the number of children to be supported. It is completed by multiplying the combined parental income by:

17% for one child

25% for two children

29% for three children

31% for four children

35% or more for five or more children

An Example of the calculation:

John and Jane Doe were married happily until Jane stepped out of the marriage and did the dirty with the pool boy prompting a divorce. They had two children together, Bonnie and Clyde. John earns 80k annually and Jane earns 40k, for a combined total of 120k parental income. Because there are two children, the percentage of child support allocated to the children is 25%. The combined income is 120k, 25% of the income is 30k; that is the total amount allocated to child support.

Since John earns 2/3 of the combined income, he’ll pay 2/3 of the 30k which equates to 20k. Jane is responsible for the other 10k.

***The court can deviate from this formula if it would be: Inappropriate, unjust to either spouse, or where spouses have opted out of the formula either in open court or a pre-marital agreement as discussed in one of my prior posts. Courts can also deviate from the formula if the child has special needs.

Although child custody is shared between both parents, it is the parent who has physical custody of the child for a majority of the year (183 overnight visits during the year) that is entitled to receive the child support payments from the other parent.

When parents share equal time with the child, then the parent with the greater income must pay the other parent child support because it assures the child will receive the max benefit of the parents incomes.

**Parents may be required to pay some additional costs such as, medical insurance and daycare.

Therefore, both parents are responsible for their proportionate share of costs in raising their children based on the statutory guidelines and discretion of the court.

Call today for a consultation regarding Divorce or Marital Agreements.
Joe Cammarata Esq.